Oprah Winfrey is considered the most influential woman by USA Today and Forbes named her the world’s most powerful celebrity in 2005. She is the American media mogul that was known for her talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, which was the highest-rated television program in history. She has been dubbed as the “Queen of All Media” and the first North America’s first multi-billionaire black person.
Before Oprah became successful, she was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother. When she was 14, she was molested and raped and became pregnant at 14. Oprah was then sent to live with the man she calls her father and then landed a job in a radio station and began co-anchoring the local news at age 19. Due to her emotional and tough childhood, she was transferred to the daytime talk show arena and this was where Oprah really shined. After boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to the first place, she launched her own production company and became successful. The rest was history.
What is amazing is that Oprah went on to achieve the outstanding feat in life and live beyond most people’s wildest dreams despite the tough childhood and challenges she faced in life. And in this article, you will discover the top 10 success principles that Oprah practice to transform her life to stardom. You too, can apply these principles and make your life spectacular.
1. Live the Life You Want
“Thoughts are the greatest vehicles to change, power, and success. Everything begins with a thought.” These are the exact words from the billionaire Oprah when she was interviewed many years ago. Oprah believed that our thoughts shape our lives. And that means, if you want to live the life you want, you must first create it in your mind.
Everything you see in this world, the cars moving on the road, the ceiling fan, your smartphone, your laptop, the table, and even the chair you are sitting on, they appear to be someone else’s thoughts before they were manifested into this world. Therefore, to be successful, you must live the life you want. You must constantly project your desired lifestyle through your thoughts.
Brian Tracy, the best-selling author and sales guru once said, “You become what you think about most of the time,” and he is right. If you want to live the life you desire, create it in your mind. See the life you want vivid in through your mind’s eye and then work on it day and night.
A lot of people are not living the lives that they want, rather, they are living the lives of other people. It is sad to see that parents nowadays are encouraging their children to study and take up courses that they think are good for their children. Instead of encouraging their children to study and work on something that they are passionate about, parents tend to make the suggestion and have their children to go for fields that they think are good. This is especially obvious among the Asian families.
So live the life you want through the power of your thoughts. Success will never come to you automatically without having you first imagine it in your head. Everything in this world happens twice, once in your mind, and once in reality. Thus, imagine the life you want and make it real by creating the thoughts in your mind. See the picture vividly and visualize your dream life every day.
2. Set Your Boundaries
When you become successful, many people will come to you and ask you for help. People will come and ask you for donation and some will come and request you to lend them some money. This is especially true when you became a billionaire and you appeared on the cover of magazines. And this is what has happened to Oprah after she became famous. She said that many friends and relatives that she did not even know existed went to her for help.
And if you want to continue to thrive, you must set your boundaries. People will ask you for help, but it is not your obligation to respond to their request. And in Oprah’s case, she has established her own charity organization that she was fully dedicated to helping as many people as possible. Hence, when people came and asked her for help, she learned to reject them politely.
It is extremely important to understand your boundaries. How much can you help and who to help. You do not want to be the good guy to save the world, you are not superman and if you try to please everyone, you will end up pleasing no one. Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
So stop pleasing everyone because you just cannot. Rather, be clear and set up your boundaries. Know what you can and cannot do and stick to your own principle. Things may become rough when you achieved great success and accumulated massive wealth. And you need to learn how to handle it by setting your boundaries.
3. Transform Your Weakness Into Strength
In 1997, Oprah delivered a speech at the Wellesley College and said these words:
“You will be wounded many times in your life, you will make mistakes, and some people will call you a failure, but what I have learned is really the God’s way of saying, “Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.””
When you are on your journey to achieving great success in life, you will face many adversities, failures, setbacks, and problems, but do not deter and transform those challenges into your stepping stones to success. Do as what Kelly Clarkson sings in her song, “What does not kill you will make you stronger.”
There are three approaches to how you can handle your setbacks and failures. The first way is to be defeated by your problems and give up. Obviously, this is not the way you want. The second way is to face your adversities and keep repeating the same action over and over again. You may produce some successes from this, but most of the time, when you do the same thing over and over again, you will receive the same old result.
And the last approach is to transform your failure into feedback and learn from your feedback so that you can improve your strategy to do it better in the future. This is how you can turn your weakness into your strength.
When you study highly successful people, you will notice that all of them faced some kind of setbacks in life. However, they persisted and used their failures to catapult themselves to a higher ground. This is how the 3M Corporation discovered the Post-It notes. The project was aimed to create a strong and permanent adhesive, but the researchers failed and produced something else that did not stick. Somehow, they managed to turn their failure product into the Post-It note and it became a billion-dollar product.
Please understand that failures are necessary in order for you to learn, grow and build better characters that are worthy of success. People learn the most from their weaknesses than from their successes. Bill Gates once said that success is a lousy teacher because it seduces people into thinking that they cannot lose.
4. Live Your Best Life
Highly successful people are always on the move and they always seem to have all the energy in the world to make things work because they want to live their best lives. During an interview with Bloomberg, the reporter asked Oprah what makes her continued to pursue higher success and work so hard since she was in her sixties and have lived so much more than ordinary people. Oprah told the reporter that the reason she continued to do so is that she wanted to live out her highest and truest self as a human being. And that will not end until her last breath.
She’s simply “Not done” yet, with her life and she wanted to live out her best. Oprah believed that that is exactly what everyone wants too. Everyone wants to live their best life and this is why she continued to strive forward and achieve greater success even when she is in her sixties.
No matter where you are in your life and what you have accomplished, there is always a higher level to go. Just like the saying, “There is always a higher mountain to climb,” and things just don’t stop there. Thus, you must live your best life in congruent with your highest self.
Unfortunately, most people live without unleashing their full potential. They bring their music to the grave with them. Never let this happen to you and never live a regretful life. You do not want to grow old only to discover that you should have taken more risk and tried more things. So live your best life right now.
5. Demand Respect
According to Oprah, rising to a level where she is absolutely comfortable with herself and the ability to say no and not to feel guilty about it are the greatest success she has achieved. In the process of learning to say no, some people hate you for it, but that is alright because it is the process you need to learn in order to be successful.
It is extremely important to have the internal strength to say, “No, I will not let you treat me this way.” This is the same ability you need to learn to prevent yourself from being abused as a child or as an adult. You must learn to demand the respect from others. Highly successful people always stick to their own principles and way of life. They believed in themselves and they are determined by their doing. This is how they are able to rise above the ordinary and become extraordinary.
Steve Jobs has a famous saying, “I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.” At the height of Apple’s performance, there are tons of opportunities that Apple can pursue. However, it was Steve Jobs’ decision to stay focus on their track and say no to all unrelated opportunities that put the company into one of the greatest companies of the decade.
When you say no politely and unapologetically, you are telling the world your stance and you are firmed in your way. This is what will give you the respect you want. The more successful you become, the more you will have to say no.
6. You Become What You Believe
Oprah is a strong believer in the Law of Attraction. And she believed that whatever she chose to believe, it will become her life. And since a very young age, she always believed that she can do better in life and was destined to be someone bigger than herself.
This is exactly what you must do to achieve outstanding success in life too. You must believe in yourself regardless of the circumstances you are in right now. You must believe that you can achieve greater success even when you are living in poverty and having difficulty paying your bills right now.
Will Smith, the famous Hollywood actor says that the first step to achieving any great result in life is to believe and see yourself as a success. Your mind will manifest what you believe. When you believe that you are a failure, guess what, your mind will fulfill that and you will live life as a failure.
Most people get it wrong by thinking that they believe what they see, which is not right. The fact is that you will see what you believe. The reticular activating system in your mind works as a filter process and filter off all the information that is deemed as unimportant to you, but how does it filter the information? The answer is your belief system.
This is why when you bought a new car, you will see the same model car is everywhere on the road. The truth is that those cars are always there, but your mind filters them and you will never notice them. This is the work of your reticular activating system at work. So believe in yourself and your dreams. You must see yourself as you are capable to achieve what you want and believe that you can do it.
7. Touch Lives Every Day
Oprah says that your legacy is the lives that you touched every day. And this is what everyone wants to do, to serve, to help, to contribute and to be able to touch lives. It is important for you to give back to the community and to the world when you have made it to the top. When you practice the art of giving, it simply means that you have sufficient and the Universe will give you more.
Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire and the founder of Alibaba said that when someone donated a portion of his wealth to help those who are in need, there will be changes in the person who did the donation. The person who plants the good deed will feel better, happier and blessed. And when you feel good, you will be able to perform better and produce greater results. This is why highly successful people are great philanthropists.
In 2010, an organization called The Giving Pledge was founded by two of the richest men on the planet, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Both of them set out a journey to help the needy through setting up a campaign to encourage other wealthy people to contribute and give their wealth to philanthropic causes. And as of 2017, the pledge has 158 signers and collected a total of $365 billion.
Extraordinary people believe that when they have reached a higher level of success, they should help those who are in need and plant the good deeds. And Oprah suggested people use their everyday life to do good, to touch lives, and to help those who are in need.
8. Be Truthful
You must learn to live a truthful life. A lot of people never live a truthful life. Their sayings are different than their doings. In today’s world, many people are not living a truthful life. They will tell you that they will do this or they will not do that, but they will do otherwise.
You should take this as a lesson and learn to be truthful with yourself. You do not have to spend money that you do not have, on things that you do not need, in order to impress people who do not care about you. Just like Oprah, you need to pursue the idea of being yourself, and not what others want you to be.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson did not start his wrestling career as a people’s champion. He started off as someone who the audience hates. And he realized that was not what he wanted and he knew he did not live out himself. And one day when he was live on TV, he took the microphone, and the fans started booing, and said, “Rocky might be a lot of things, but sucks aren’t one of them.” After that, Dwayne Johnson started to be himself and live out his best. And eventually, he became one of the most influential figures in the history of wrestling. And this is how The Rock got to become the people’s champion. Johnson was considered one of the highest paid Hollywood actors today.
It always paid off handsomely to be yourself, to be you. No matter which industry you are in, whether it is entertainment, or be out to the public, you just need to be yourself.
9. Own Your Life
One of the most powerful principles shared by Oprah is that you must own your life. It is difficult to feel that you are the only one; the only one who travels this path, who feels this way, who experiences the ups and downs of life. And Oprah defined a master as someone who has fully stepped in and owned the full progress and trajectory of life.
After hearing stories after stories of how people went from the bottom of their lives and transformed into a success, how they overcome insurmountable obstacles, how to continue to keep going despite all the odds, how to live, how to course correct, how to rejoice in both the good times and the bad, and those are the real masters of life.
And if you want to live to the fullest and experience life, this is exactly what you need to do too. You must learn to own your life, experience the ups and downs, and then share it with others and help the trajectory of their lives.
10. Be Thankful
Last, but not least, learn to be thankful for everything that you have in your life. You must be grateful for what you have in order to have more. If you are not grateful for what you have, you will never feel wealthy. On the other hand, if you are feeling grateful for everything you have, your car, your dog, your spouse, your parents, the computer you are using, your phone, the air you are breathing, etc., you will feel wealthy beyond your wildest dream.
The society and the media have conditioned us to believe that success and wealth are associated with money and shiny objects such as luxury cars, private planes, big houses, and the ability to spend lavishly. However, this is far from the truth. Success and wealth have nothing to do with the material items that people possessed because those are things that you cannot bring with you to the afterlife.
What truly matters are your feelings, your experience, and your meaningful memories. When you feel grateful for everything that you have in your life, you will be the wealthiest man in the world. Hence, learn to be thankful for what you have right now.
These are the top 10 success principles one can learn from the billionaire woman, Oprah Winfrey. In her talk show, Oprah has spoken to hundreds of people from all walks of life including celebrities, millionaires, and leaders in the business world. And there will always be something to learn from this passionate and successful woman. The top 10 list here is a great way to start, but there will always be more you can expect from Oprah.